Meat Free interviews: Peter Van Hoesen

The man himself Peter Van Hoesen will be playing for our Meat Free party this Saturday, December 3rd, alongside Steffi, Virginia, and the Zenker Brothers. We can’t wait! And we hope you enjoy our interview with him 🙂

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Can you talk to us a bit about the Terrene Project with Heleen Blanken – it sounds quite surreal! Is this the first time you’ve done something like this? How would you describe it? 

It’s not the first time for me to collaborate with an artist from another discipline, so I was fairly familiar with the process. In the past I’ve collaborated with choreographers, visuals artists, theatre makers, …. Heleen I first met when I was invited to play at the now-closed Trouw club in Amsterdam, several years ago. That night she wrapped the entire club in these fantastic, organic visuals. Since then I’ve been a fan of her work, so it was an easy decision to start working together on her installation. We came to the end result quite fast, this is always a good sign for me, as it means everyone involved is on the same wavelength. I think Terrene has a lot of potential, I am very curious to see how it will develop in the future.

 

Terrene Project Heleen Blanken

 

Alice from Meat Free went down recently to speak on a panel alongside Cameron (owner of Fabric) that was broadcast on Radio 1, to discuss the issues around electronic music culture and nightlife, and what Fabric’s closure means for it. For the record, where do you stand on Fabric’s closure? 
I’m very happy that Fabric can open again, but at the same time I think this is not the end of the story. People should realize that there seems to be a movement towards greater restriction in the UK and in Europe, in all senses of the word. This is something to react against. Things are being taken away from us under our noses, slowly, and it is necessary to stop this.

 

Following on from Fabric, in an interview with them back in 2013 on the topic of your live setup, you were experimenting with using an iPad running Animoog, and sequencing everything in Ableton. You mentioned ‘I am trying to re-create the studio setup as much as possible on stage. The opposite is also true: I want the studio setup to become more like the live setup.’- we’ve had three years more technology since then – do you feel you’re closer to a harmony with your setup that is both for the studio and live? Or has more technology come along that has meant more of a disparity has grown? 
It’s not the same setup anymore, as I realized that, over time, it became more and more difficult to create the sounds in my head using this setup. So I went back to a more complex setup, once more choosing two different methods and tools for studio and live use. I guess I will never find a final setup, maybe that is how it is supposed to be. Change is constant, it seems.


In an interview with Inverted Audio you mention that ‘from a practical perspective I never had anybody who showed me how to do things, I learned everything myself. I attended several years of music academy, but that did not really do much for me.’ I find this absolutely amazing, your music is so nuanced and sonically excellent. What’s your secret to becoming so good, and being self-taught? How long did you work at music before you started getting a sound you were really happy with? And is there any advice you’d give to budding producers? 

I think the main reason for all this is some sort of deep-rooted obsession with sound. It is more or less the only constant thing in my life, music. You also have to know that I started at a very early age, listening to music, playing music. Music was all around me in my early years. I spend so much time listening to all kinds  of sounds, so I guess it is rather normal that over time I became good at manipulating and creating them. Next to that I spend a lot of time on the production of my music, refining it, looking at it from different perspectives. I really take my time. Maybe that is the best advice I can give:
take your time, don’t stress, don’t be lead by other motives than just the love for music. And read books and articles. A lot. I learned so much from reading.

You’ve got a new Sendai album in the pipeline (December 9th) – this is exciting! Did you think when you started that your partnership that it would be so fruitful? And do you think that the collaboration with Yves enables you to have a different approach in the studio, is there a certain dynamic that you both fall into?

Actually, I think we did kind of believe that we had something to offer when we started. Otherwise we would not have done it. There was a genuine belief that if the two of us would get together something would come out of it, something at least we ourselves would be happy with. We were very naive thinking that it would happen much faster than it actually did, but that’s another topic 🙂
As for the dynamic of the collaboration, this is rather special. Yves lives in Antwerp and I live in Berlin, we send a lot of music back and forth, but we actually spend very little time in the studio together. But we communicate almost daily, so there is a very strong connection.

You mention that radio was very influential to you back in Brussels, is this still the case? If so, what radio stations do you listen to? 
Not really, radio seems to have dissappeared from my life over time. It’s funny answering this question right now, because I have just spend the last couple of days recording old tapes of my favourite radio show from back then. I wanted those recordings in digital format, as the tapes are slowly losing their quality. It was great listening to them, sort of like a photo album, but with sound instead of pictures.

 

If you look back on the vast amount of music you’ve made, are there any that stand out as being reflective of a situation or place you were in? Do any tell a story that you’re willing to tell us? 
I’m still very happy with my first techno album, Entropic City. Looking back on it I now realize that it was a direct reflection on my life in Brussels at the time. It was released in the year of my move to Berlin, so there’s quite a bit of personal storytelling in there. I was not so much aware of this at the time, but now it all makes sense. I was feeling this love/hate relationship towards the city and my life there, and all of this came out in the album, somehow. It’s a more personal album than the second one, Perceiver, which was really all about musical research.

If you could start again, would you still choose music? 
For me music is not a choice. It is a necessity. All my life I have felt that music is the reason why I’m here.

 

Finally, what can Manchester expect when you play for us? 
A solid dose of contemporary techno with a slice of psychedelica, that is how I like to describe my sets at the moment.

 

Featured image: https://s2.awakenings.com/uploads/images/cache/2015/10/1890x1200q=90_Peter-van-Hoesen_8908_8909_1890x1200_100_1_1_t.jpg

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